Measurement and risk adjustment of prelabor cesarean rates in a large sample of California hospitals

Marco D. Huesch, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, Jason N. Doctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective Prelabor cesareans in women without a prior cesarean is an important quality measure, yet one that is seldom tracked. We estimated patient-level risks and calculated how sensitive hospital rankings on this proposed quality metric were to risk adjustment. Study Design This retrospective cohort study linked Californian patient data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality with hospital-level operational and financial data. Using the outcome of primary prelabor cesarean, we estimated patient-level logistic regressions in progressively more detailed models. We assessed incremental fit and discrimination, and aggregated the predicted patient-level event probabilities to construct hospital-level rankings. Results Of 408,355 deliveries by women without prior cesareans at 254 hospitals, 11.0% were prelabor cesareans. Including age, ethnicity, race, insurance, weekend and unscheduled admission, and 12 well-known patient risk factors yielded a model c-statistic of 0.83. Further maternal comorbidities, and hospital and obstetric unit characteristics only marginally improved fit. Risk adjusting hospital rankings led to a median absolute change in rank of 44 places compared to rankings based on observed rates. Of the 48 (49) hospitals identified as in the best (worst) quintile on observed rates, only 23 (18) were so identified by the risk-adjusted model. Conclusion Models predict primary prelabor cesareans with good discrimination. Systematic hospital-level variation in patient risk factors requires risk adjustment to avoid considerably different classification of hospitals by outcome performance. An opportunity exists to define this metric and report such risk-adjusted outcomes to stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443.e1-443.e17
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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